Now that the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is winding down (thank God), we can get back to the business of rocking out. I mean, seriously: I understand that the type of people who typically cruise the midway at the Will Rogers Memorial Complex are probably partial to both kinds of music (country and western – har, har). But I don’t think local club owners are giving ‘dem good ol’ boys and girls enough credit.
After eating Donkey Tails, breathing in manure, and saying “Howdy” to every person who passes by – all damn day long – who on Earth would want to listen to music that reminds us of, well, Donkey Tails, manure, and “Howdy”? Not me, Jack, which is why I’m glad the rock is back. On Saturday at the Aardvark, local mod-grunge rockers Stella Rose will celebrate the release of their new full-length album, Nine Caged Tigers, with Jefferson Colby, Psycles, and The Last Start. And Nine Caged Tigers is just that: Nine growling songs that are dying to slip their prison walls and bite you in the ass.
“Makin’ It Easy” is the first and most fully realized track. A bluesy, Ace Frehley-inspired intro kicks into a Drivin’ and Cryin’ riff, with lots of pull-offs and chimes, and it threatens to completely subsume Matt Mabe’s fluttering drums and Mckenna Madget’s subterranean bass. Even the groovier, less furious songs have an angry, animal heart. The plodding “Ultrasound” comes to life when Madget harmonizes with Beatty’s pure, distant phrasings, and the ’80s-era gentleman punk breakdown on “Golden” adds another dimension to an otherwise straightforward mushroom trip.
“Young Dumb and Beautiful” seems to be a loud, Zeppelin-esque indictment of a wayward friend’s choice in a newfangled thing (maybe the lead singer’s old-fangled one), and Stella Rose’s signature tune, “The Christmas Tree,” the only one leftover from the band’s DIY debut, Starving Hysterical Naked, doesn’t have the original’s raw fury, but it’s a gem. Understand, Tigers isn’t perfect. Beatty’s voice occasionally registers boredom (or is it fatigue?), Beatty and Madget’s vocal harmonies sometimes compete rather than complement each other, and there are random bouts of arrhythmia between Beatty’s and Madget’s axes. Yet even at 90 percent top speed, Stella Rose is still the ass-kickingest hard-rock band around. And that’s not even spotting them what they’re capable of doing a year, hell, two weeks from now. The Aardvark is at 2905 W. Berry St. in Cowtown. Call 817-926-7814.
… There’s two more good non-Stock Show-related concerts this weekend, and both are in Denton: singer-songwriter Aaron Sandoval at the R Bar, 827 Eagle Dr. (940-320-0405), and (probably) soon-to-be major-label and Rolling Stone darlings Radiant, at Andy’s Bar, 122 N. Locust St. (940-565-5400), with Auto Escape and The Demigs. Sandoval’s shows are usually intimate affairs in which the veteran Texas Music man intersperses stories with tunes. Visit MySpace.com/aaronsandoval.
As for Radiant, the Grand Prairie quartet was supposed to be televised performing on New Year’s Eve as part of CBS’ live coverage, but I guess Fergie went a little long, which is amazing for a pop starlet who’s made a living out of brevity, in both her music and hemline. Visit MySpace.com/radiantmusic.
Contact Last Call at firstname.lastname@example.org.